Thoughts on the new year

January 06, 2015

forge war retail Well, here we are. 2015. I graduated high school in 2000, and that entire year seemed so monumental. The end of a millenium. The end of my childhood. Moving on into independence as we all moved into starting the date with a 2 instead of a 1. I gotta tell you, though, ever since then, things have been a bit of a blur. The time between 1988 and 1998 seems gigantic, but the time between 2002 and 2012 seems so tiny. It's kind of alarming. But like I discussed last week, I think the years might finally be slowing down again. Last year felt significant, like it really mattered. And I intend to keep that feeling moving forward into this new year. 2015 is going to matter, too. It's not just another year struggling in a PhD program. This is the year monumental things happen. So let's talk about these monumental things for a bit. The first, of course, is the retail release of Forge War. I have so many weird and confusing feelings about this, but, one way or another, it will definitely be significant. What it really comes down to is how reviewers receive it and how the general gaming public receives it. I'm more optimistic about the general public, as this initially will mainly be made up of Kickstarter backers who went into it knowing what to expect. If you go into a game knowing more-or-less what to expect, I don't think you're going to be disappointed. In the right person's hands, Forge War is a fantastic game, and Kickstarter really helps getting the game into the right hands. I said from the beginning, though, that Forge War isn't for everybody. No game is, but I often worry about Forge War colliding with the wrong audience. In particular, I think about how Forge War is so different from other games usually funded through Kickstarter. Really, it's the first long, heavy Euro game I can think of funded with Kickstarter in a sea of light and fast fare. I think it would be pretty easy for people in the Kickstarter community to buy into it not knowing what to expect and then they don't like it. I don't know. It's all conjecture, but the bottom line is that I want as many people to enjoy it as possible without inconveniencing those who wouldn't enjoy it. There's always a bit of ego in it, too, though. What game designer doesn't want to see one of their creations break the top 100 on BoardGameGeek? I think Forge War is fun enough and innovative enough to do it, but that does require cultivation, and people hating the game always works against that. But, again, the cultivation is about getting the game into the hands of as many receptive gamers as possible, and, of course, reviews help tremendously with that. What will Tom Vasel think of my game? Who knows? I mean, I couldn't ask for a better endorsement than what Rahdo gave - it was the driving force behind the entire Kickstarter campaign. But there are other audiences to reach, and you certainly don't want a reviewer to throw it in the trash or out a window. That doesn't help anybody. I'll just have to get the game into as many reviewers' hands as possible and then just wait and see. Forge War could always end up doing poorly, which is why I'm only printing 3000 copies - about 1000 more than the Kickstarter and online sales. I'm fairly confident that with some advertising and some positive reviews, that amount will sell over some period of time, and everything will be fine. The other scary thing is that what if the game does do well? What if those 1000 copies sell out in the first month? It's great, but then you end up with a bunch of demand and no supply. Should I have printed more? Who knows? And then you run into a grey area of, "Is there enough demand to print a second run immediately, or do I just leave it out of print until I do a Kickstarter for an expansion?" Sitting here worrying about all the unknowns could kill a person. I guess I've just gotta forge ahead based on whatever advice more experience people are willing to give me and hope for the best. Like I said, the release will be significant one way or another. haven And then there's the whole business of what I'm doing after the release of Forge War. Gotta keep that buzz going. Gotta keep that momentum up. Ideally I'd like to run another Kickstarter campaign this year around the same time I ran one last year. Not for a Forge War expansion, but for one of two new games I'm working on at the moment. The fact that I don't even know which game I should focus on developing, though, might speak to how unprepared I am at the moment. I'm working on things, but as just one guy, I might not get another Kickstarter up and running until October. When it does go up, though, man, will it be monumental. I am really excited about the two games I'm working on now. Very different from Forge War but still very fun and innovative. One, currently code-named "Legend" (not the final title), I've talked a lot about recently. Deck-building used as a mechanic for mitigating randomness in a game of skill checks and area control. I'm really excited with how it's progressing, and I'd like it to be my next Kickstarter project, but the whole game was forged around a theme that is very specific to an intellectual property that is not mine. I could re-theme it, but that would break my heart a little bit, so I'm currently trying to get those rights, which is putting the whole project in limbo. My other project, code-named "Haven" (possibly the final title), I haven't really talked much about. It's basically the legacy concept applied to a dungeon crawler, sort of like Descent, but much more Euro in execution and, at the same time, more open and free for the players. It's sort of a massive concept, and I'll definitely be writing more about it later. The main pull-away for this conversation, though, is the word "legacy." First of all, yeah, the concept of legacy games is the hot new thing right now. That's not why I'm working on it, but I am hoping I can introduce it to the public before it becomes passé. I'm sure it will be released well after Pandemic Legacy and Seafall come out, so I hope it's not perceived as "bandwagon." In addition, though, it should be noted that legacy games are a massive undertaking. I'm really happy with the mechanics of the game, but what really takes time is creating content for the game. I want something around 100 different dungeons the players can explore, 10 or 20 different character classes to unlock, items, monsters... It's a lot of stuff and it all needs to be balanced. It's a little scary, and all I can say right now is I'm doing my best. We'll see where I go from here and how long it takes me to get there. Hopefully it'll happen within the year, though, because I'm still determined to make this year monumental. Because that's how we roll now.

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